The book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten captivated me as a kid. If in fact all I ever needed to know I learned when I was six, what was the point of the other twelve years of education? Yet in the long run, the simplistic lessons like always share, respect each other’s naptime, don’t show up with no clothes on to school bore fruit.
Little did I know that in the process of making quesadillas I would come up with my own set of simple rules. Quesadillas and life are not so similar, but there are some telling intersections—both are labor intensive and intensely more satisfying with the right ingredients. Plus, quesadillas are pretty much the only thing I can cook, and well, I’m good at it (not so with life). So why not give advice on something I’m capable of doing?
Publishers, I impatiently await your requests for the book form of this entry.
1. Use the best ingredients. I try to make the quesadillas with a rotating cast of flavors. Sometimes I use red or green peppers, other times onions, asiago cheese, even apricots. There are some mainstays like cheese and tortillas, but even those are flexible. Likewise, a life spent trying new things is much better and more interesting than one lived in a single state of mind. Both life and quesadillas promise vast possibilities just waiting to be explored.
2. Never fault good preparation. The more time I have to prepare the ingredients, the better. If I have fifteen to twenty minutes of prep time I can finely cut the peppers, warm the tortillas, and spread some oil on the grill. With only ten minutes I’ll always botch something or cook them unevenly in the microwave. Preparation always pays off, in cooking and in life.
3. Give it enough time. I’m an impatient cook so I like to eat the quesadillas after a minute on the grill. These are definitely the worst kind of quesadillas—all crumby and cold. Good quesadillas need two to three minutes on each side as a minimum. I can’t say it enough, but patience here pays off.
4. Enjoy. The best kind of quesadillas come straight from the grill. There are many people who save up their pleasures, but I say take them at once, hot. You deserve it. Plus, who knows how it will taste tomorrow?